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Trade Deficit in August

Trade Deficit in August

The estimated merchandise trade deficit for August 2003 is $274 million or 11.8 percent of exports, according to Statistics New Zealand. A trade deficit is usual for an August month, with deficits ranging from 3.8 percent to 23.3 percent of exports over the last 10 years.

The provisional value of merchandise imports for August 2003 was $2,604 million, and the estimated value of merchandise exports was $2,330 million. The values of both imports and exports were lower than in August 2002, down 11.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. The New Zealand dollar is 17.8 percent higher in August 2003 than in August 2002, according to the trade weighted index. A higher exchange rate will generally have a downward influence on export and import prices.

The main contributors to the lower imports value for the August 2003 month were crude oil; plastic and plastic articles; and fertilizers. During this month, seven armoured vehicles were imported from Canada. With these excluded, the August 2003 imports value for vehicles, parts and accessories would have been 5.5 percent lower than the figure recorded in August 2002.

For the year ended August 2003, the provisional value of merchandise imports is $31,768 million, down 0.9 percent from the August 2002 year. The estimated value of merchandise exports for the same period is $28,979 million (down 9.1 percent), resulting in an estimated deficit of $2,788 million (9.6 percent of exports) for the period.

Updated and detailed merchandise export statistics will be released on 6 October 2003.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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